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About

Contact Information

P: 864-656-2328
E: biolsci@clemson.edu

Campus Location

132 Long Hall, Clemson, SC 29634

Hours

Monday - Friday:
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Profile


Profile Photo

Saara DeWalt

Biological Sciences

Dept Chair/Head

864-656-1112
Jordan Hall 217 [Lab]
Long Hall 132C [Office]

saarad@clemson.edu
Website
CV

Educational Background

AB, Biology, Brown University, 1994
PhD, Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, 2003

Profile/About Me

I am a Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. I have been at Clemson for 17 years as an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Full Professor, and now Chair. I work with our 53 faculty and 30+ staff to implement our strategic plan, BioSciFORWARD. I am also active with the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation and served as President in 2020.

Research Interests

My lab uses ecological and molecular genetic techniques to address a number of questions in population, evolutionary, and community ecology: How is genetic variation distributed within and among plant populations? What are the ecological and evolutionary processes that affect and maintain genetic variation and structure in plant populations? Which current and historical factors determine the structure and composition of plant communities? What are the roles of herbivores and pathogens in shaping patterns of plant abundance and distribution on local and broad geographic scales? Primarily, we address these questions by studying lianas (woody vines) and non-native, invasive plants in temperate and tropical forests. These study systems offer ideal conditions for testing hypotheses concerning the determinants of genetic variation, genetic differentiation, species abundance, community composition, and diversity. The work on invasive species also provides opportunities for applied research on effective control methods.

Courses Taught

BIOL 3040 Biology of Plants
BIOL 3080 Biology of Plants Practicum
BIOL 8070 Readings in Biology - Ecology section
BIOL 8130 GTA Colloquium
BIOL 8200 Community Ecology

Selected Publications

DeWalt, S. J., J. S. Denslow, and M. T. Johnson. 2022. Ecology and control of naturalized Melastomataceae. In Systematics, Ecology and Evolution of Melastomataceae, eds. R. Goldbenberg, F. A. Michelangeli, and F. Almeda, Springer.

Poorter, L. and numerous co-authors including S. J. DeWalt. 2021. Multi-dimensional tropical forest recovery. Science 374: 1370-1376 DOI: 10.1126/science.abh3629.

Poorter, L. and numerous co-authors including S. J. DeWalt. 2021. Functional recovery of secondary tropical forests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118: e2003405118 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2003405118.

Azevedo de Oliveira, S.*, J. A. Baeza, P. Agudelo, and S. J. DeWalt. 2022. Observations on the population genetic structure of the leaf galling nematode, Ditylenchus gallaeformans. Phytopathology 112: 881-887 DOI: 10.1094/phyto-04-21-0174-r.

Rüger, N., R. Condit, D. H. Dent, S. J. DeWalt, S. P. Hubbell, J. W. Lichstein, O. R. Lopez, C. Wirth, and C. E. Farrior. 2020. Demographic trade-offs predict tropical forest dynamics. Science 368:165-168.

Powers, J. S., E. M. Bruna, A. Campos-Arceiz, P. D. Sampaio, S. J. DeWalt, L. G. Lohmann, and R. A. Zahawi. 2020. Tropical biology and conservation in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Biotropica 52:399-399.

Jones, I. L., S. J. DeWalt, O. R. Lopez, L. Bunnefeld, Z. Pattison, and D. H. Dent. 2019. Above- and belowground carbon stocks are decoupled in secondary tropical forests and are positively related to forest age and soil nutrients respectively. Science of the Total Environment 697.

Poorter, L. and numerous co-authors including S. J. DeWalt. 2019. Wet and dry tropical forests show opposite successional pathways in wood density but converge over time. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3:928-934.

Rozendaal, D. M. A. and numerous co-authors including S. J. DeWalt. 2019. Biodiversity recovery of Neotropical secondary forests. Science Advances 5: eaau3114.

Woods, C. L., S. J. DeWalt, C. L. Cardelus, K. E. Harms, J. B. Yavitt, and S. J. Wright. 2018. Fertilization influences the nutrient acquisition strategy of a nomadic vine in a lowland tropical forest understory. Plant and Soil 431: 389-399.

Slik, J. W. F. and numerous co-authors including S. J. DeWalt. 2018. A phylogenetic classification of the world's tropical forests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115:1837-1842.

Siemann, E., S. J. DeWalt, J. W. Zou, and W. E. Rogers. 2017. An experimental test of the EICA Hypothesis in multiple ranges: invasive populations outperform those from the native range independent of insect herbivore suppression. Annals of Botany 9:1-13.

Chazdon, R. L. and numerous co-authors including S. J. DeWalt. 2016. Carbon sequestration potential of second-growth forest regeneration in the Latin American tropics. Science Advances 2: e1501639.

DeWalt, S. J., K. Ickes, and A. James. 2016. Forest and community structure of tropical sub-montane rain forests on the island of Dominica, Lesser Antilles. Caribbean Naturalist Special Issue 1: 116-137.

Poorter, L., and numerous co-authors including S. J. DeWalt. 2016. Biomass resilience of Neotropical secondary forests. Nature 530:211-214.

Slik, J. W. F. and numerous co-authors including S. J. DeWalt. 2015. An estimate of the number of tropical tree species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 112: 7472-7477.

DeWalt, S. J., B. N. Taylor, and K. Ickes. 2015. Density-dependent survival in seedlings differs among woody life-forms in tropical wet forests of a Caribbean island. Biotropica 47: 310-319.

Woods, C. L., C. L. Cardelus, and S. J. DeWalt. 2015. Microhabitat associations of vascular epiphytes in a wet tropical forest canopy. Journal of Ecology 103: 421-430.

Memberships

Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Ecological Society of America

Honors and Awards

Board of Trustees Award for Excellence, Clemson University
Sigma Xi Outstanding Young Investigator of the Year, Clemson Chapter
Edgerton Award for Research in Botany, Louisiana State University
Fulbright fellowship for ethnobotanical work in Bolivia
BSA Young Botanist Award, Botanical Society of America

Links

Google Scholar Profile
Research Gate Profile
LinkedIn

Contact Information

P: 864-656-2328
E: biolsci@clemson.edu

Campus Location

132 Long Hall, Clemson, SC 29634

Hours

Monday - Friday:
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.